CultureLAB Artists 2022 – 23
CultureLAB is about new ideas coming to life.
CultureLAB is an arts development program that supports independent artists and small-medium companies, with a focus on the potential of performance and artists with an experimental practice. This program is the primary way Arts House supports the presentation of new Australian art.
After an intense selection process Arts House is thrilled to reveal the cohort of artists participating in CultureLAB 2022 – 23. Read more below to find out about the artists and their projects.
Over the Borderline
A new performance by Lara Thoms, Mish Grigor and Sammaneh Pourshafighi that interrogates the intersections of border control, queerness and popular entertainment.
APHIDS is a 27-year-old artist-led experimental art organisation based in Naarm (Melbourne), Australia. The work of APHIDS is feminist, intersectional, angry and funny; bringing artists into meaningful exchange with audiences through performance, screens, critical dialogue and unpredictable encounters in the public realm. Past APHIDS works have been presented in major venues in every state and territory in Australia, and in more unexpected places: Elderly homes in Finland, industrial zones in Bulgaria, Union headquarters and beamed into outer space. Our collaborators have included funeral directors, uber drivers, scientists and pop stars. Our projects promote open, accessible yet complex and rigorous encounters between artists and the public.
Centaurs is an experimental opera. A sci-fi work, it speculates on future effects of artificial intelligence on human relationships, within the cultural context of Vietnamese-Australian families — informed by AI research, AI tools in the creative process, lived experiences of the lead artist and his extended family, and cai luong: traditional Vietnamese folk opera.
Alan Nguyen is a writer, director and designer working in TV (NBC Universal, SBS, ABC, Princess Pictures, Matchbox Pictures), theatre (Melbourne Theatre Company) and multisensory interactive experiences (EyeJack, Australia Council for the Arts). In 2020, Alan was a Best Miniseries double nominee for the Australian Film Institute’s AACTA Awards and the Australian Writers Guild’s AWGIE Awards for his writing on the SBS miniseries HUNGRY GHOSTS (Matchbox Pictures/NBC Universal). As a writer and director, Alan’s film work has broadcast on ABC and won awards & screened at film festivals internationally. In 2021, he produced, wrote and directed the 360°/Virtual Reality nature-documentary BEESCAPES (Creative Victoria) created in collaboration with world-leading scientists, to allow audiences to understand and experience honeybee sensory perception. He is currently working on POLYPHONIC MOTIONS and MELODIC MOTIONS, involving the co-design of interactive, movement-based A/V tools for artists with intellectual disabilities, in collaboration with the Care-full Design Lab and Fog Theatre. Over the past several years, Alan has worked closely on numerous occasions with core ‘Centaurs’ collaborators: Daniel Jentasch and Michele Lee.
Vitae Veritas & Artists
Disrupting sighted ableism through the art of access in theatre and dance (a.k.a DSA)
An intentional project reckoning with inequities and barriers, caring of and invigorating b/Blind & vision impaired artists, their practice, art, skills & networks to thrive. Lead by 3 artists, Alex Craig (NSW), Olivia Muscat (Vic) and Zya Kane (Vic), each will develop 3 distinct chapters of work centralising the non-sighted perspective, in collaboration with Nilgun Guven of Vitae Veritas and other dual role creative & accessibility allies.
Alex Craig is a Queer, Blind dance artist and maker. Holly creates movement-based experiences which agitate societal notions of agency, identity, belonging and community through exploring diverse personal narratives. Drawing from their lived history of Blindness, Holly utilises creative Audio Description, written texts, and non-verbal bodily and atmospheric sounds, to convert visual movement-based material into collective actions for audiences.
Olivia Muscat is a writer and disability arts advocate with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and studied acting and movement at the Victorian College of the Arts and was awarded the 2019 Lesley Hall arts and disability scholarship. She is a published author and does accessibility consulting and sensitivity readings for artists, authors and arts organisations and participates in focus groups on accessibility, audio description and dance.
Zya Kane is a theatre maker, director, inclusive arts practitioner, performer, and researcher in sensory methodologies, applied to theatre, art, education, artistic processes and group work. Zya runs workshops and teaches regularly with a diversity of companies and people of all abilities. Zya has been involved in creating, co-devising and performing at works for events, theatres and festivals in Australia and internationally over the past 25 years.
Nilgun Guven is a Turkish-Australian based producer, director, artist and culture agent whose business and arts practice are concerned with the intersectionality of human rights, inclusion & access, aesthetic innovation and creative production.
Vitae Veritas (VV), is a not-for-profit arts organisation dedicated to promoting cultural diversity, artistic excellence and inclusive arts leadership. VV centres disabled and neurodiverse artists & their creative practice and explores the role of artistic experimentation and how this directly informs co-designing accessible creative and aesthetic innovations & strategies for collaboration.
Ellipsis is born of the loss of cultural identity and knowledge through the processes of colonisation and globalisation. This work utilises sound and light projections across sculptural elements to develop a restorative and transformative space or field. Through performance, the work is transitioned through its different phases.
Vijay Thillaimuthu is a Tamil-Australian audio-visual artist informed by the rich history of analogue sound synthesis and sound reactive electronic art. Vijay creates unique immersive environments that can be experienced across different sensual distinctions based on synergistic approaches with technology. Amongst a range of diverse outcomes, Vijay Thillaimuthu has presented work for the Melbourne International Film Festival, Liquid Architecture, What is Music Festival, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Arts House, Red Bull Music Festival, The Substation, Arts Centre Melbourne, Otherfilm (QLD), the Now now Festival (NSW), The Banff Centre (Canada) and the Tokyo Festival of Modular (Japan).
Guewel is a multi-artform theatre piece created by artistic director/composer and performer Lamine Sonko. The work is a collaboration with a team of producers, theatre directors, performer/ musicians, visual and multi-media artists to share ancient embodied knowledge of universal connectedness.
Lamine Sonko is a director, composer, multi-instrumentalist and dancer originally from Senegal and living in Melbourne since 2004. In his artistic practice he draws on traditional wisdom to create inter-disciplinary & multi-sensory arts experiences inspired by his Senegalese cultural background as a Guewel. His work is informed by a lifetime of learning embodied cultural knowledge within his community, guided by elders through participation in rituals and ceremonies. In his artistic practice he draws on these concepts to present to audiences in a contemporary form to evoke new community consciousness and connection. Through his work he communicates themes of interconnectedness through interpretative narratives, sacred music composition and dance, and illuminated by words, sonics, film and visual art. Sonko worked in musical theatre with Swiss-based Compagnie des Cries before moving to Australia and has directed large scale performance works including ‘One Africa’ Boite Millenium Chorus (Arts Centre Melbourne) and ‘Singing the Journey’ (Hawthorn Arts Centre). He has recorded a vast body of award-winning music including two compositions for Grammy Award-winning album ‘Winds of Samsara’ (2015). In 2018 Sonko brought together a team of artists, academics and cultural elders to establish 13.12. With an interdisciplinary focus, 13.12 presents multi-artform experiences and nurtures research that promotes ancient wisdom cultures and global indigenous ways of knowing.
Dissent is a rousing, interactive performance and research project excavating contested histories, inspired by discomforting tales of civil disobedience and passive resistance. Interrogating individual relationships to protest, a new game will be created, to be played intimately with five strangers.
Daley Rangi is a Māori antidisciplinary artist generating the unpredictable. They evade categorisation and invade the status quo; speaking truth to power and reorienting hierarchies. Through eclectic practice, they share spirited stories which take many forms. With a keen focus on social ethics and bodily integrity, they unearth tales of resilience and resistance; they have created works on ecological sovereignty, disabled experience, ideological virality, social architecture, and queer labour. They are a member of the Artistic Directorate for experimental arts engine room, Next Wave. Daley, like their art, is inspired by ancestry and fuelled by injustice.
Seini F Taumoepeau
This project is the initial research and development for a series of performance, text, installation, digital works exploring the intersections of plant-life and performance composition through an Indigenous Tongan Australian lens. Creating a performative new media work, with metaphor in flowers/plant and culturally specific scent and exploring the performance of the after-taste or ripple-effect in the ethereal. This is a first stage creative collaboration using storytelling, social technology and kinship genealogy as common ground.
Sēini ‘SistaNative’ Taumoepeau (She/Her) Orator & Songwoman – Storyteller with an Intersectional Oceanic-Pacific lens & First Nations focus. An emerging Elder, Sēini’s career spans 30+ years as Performance Artist, Presenter/Broadcaster & Creative Industries professional. An Indigenous woman of the Mōana & the direct descendant of Ancient Polynesian Celestial Navigators & Chiefly lineage. With energy medicine in her presence, Faivā (performance of space) & Tauhi Vā (relational space) is her praxis, Talanoa: Talk-Story, Cosmology, Human Potential & Technology her central axis. With harmony & rhythm aesthetic, Sēini works first the invisible & intangible, then exploring ideas of connectivity, hōhoko (geneology), ritual, ceremony, communication, relational inter-sectionality & displacement across Tā Vā (Time-Space).
Images courtesy of the artists.